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Dam Safety Engineer (Environmental Engineer 5)

Washington State Department of Ecology
Lacey, Washington State (US) or Shoreline, Washington State (US)
$82,896.00 - $111,552.00 Annually
Closing date
Mar 3, 2023

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Environmental Engineering
Position Type
Engineer, Senior Engineer
Contract Type
Organization Type

Job Details

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Keeping Washington Clean and Evergreen


The Water Resources (WR) program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Dam Safety Engineer (Environmental Engineer 5) position. This position can located in our Headquarters Office in Lacey, WA. Or our Northwest Region Office (NWRO) in Shoreline, WA. Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station.

Please Note: If the final location of this position is determined to be in our Northwest Region Office (NWRO) in Shoreline, WA. there will be an additional 5% pay increase due to the positions location, in this instance the salary range will be $7,253 - $9,760 per month.

The Dam Safety Office (DSO) has a unique and multifaceted mission that plays an important role in the management of water infrastructure, with the goal of improving public safety.  As a Dam Safety Engineer, you will be applying engineering expertise to assist owners of dams with the construction and maintenance their facilities to meet Dam Safety standards.  The DSO regulates nearly 1,100 dams, in every county in the state, and the types of dams you will encounter will vary significantly in terms of size, complexity and function. This is an excellent opportunity to build a highly sought-after engineering background, as the development and management of surface water resources becomes more and more valuable in the future.

The mission of the Water Resources (WR) program is to manage water resources to meet the current and future needs of the natural environment and Washington's communities.  
The Dam Safety Section relies on professional self-directed staff and cross discipline collaboration within a supportive team of helpful experts. Life safety is our mission - the section has a rich history of constructive discussion. The team embraces a diversity of professional opinion so that we can understand and mitigate risk.  

Tele-work options for this position: This position will be required to work in the office approximately three days a week for the first year for the purpose of orientation and training. Applicants with questions about position location options, tele-work, and flexible or compressed schedules are encouraged to reach out to the contact person listed below in “other information.” Schedules are dependent upon position needs and are subject to change.   


Application Timeline: This position will remain open until filled, with an initial screening date of February 7, 2023. In order to be considered for initial screening, please submit an application on or before February 6, 2023. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.

Ecology employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s)Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan ForgivenessTuition Waiver,  Long Term Disability & Life InsuranceDeferred Compensation ProgramsDependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP),  Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA)Employee Assistance ProgramCommute Trip Reduction Incentives (Download PDF reader)Combined Fund DriveSmartHealth *Click here for more information 


About the Department of Ecology

Protecting Washington State's environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. Join a team that is highly effective and collaborative, with leadership that embraces the value of people. To learn more, check out our Strategic Plan


Ecology cares deeply about employee wellness; we go beyond traditional benefits, proudly offering:


  • A healthy life/work balance by offering flexible schedules and telework options for most positions.
  • An Infants at Work Program that is based on the long-term health values of infant-parent bonding and breastfeeding newborns.
  • Continuous growth and development opportunities. 
  • A wellness program that offers education, fitness classes, and an agency-wide fondness for outdoor meetings.
  • Opportunities to serve your community and make an impact through meaningful work.

    Our commitment to DEIR
    Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) are core values central to Ecology’s work. We strive to be a workplace where we are esteemed for sharing our authentic identities, while advancing our individual professional goals and collaborating to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment for current and future generations.


    Diversity: We celebrate and appreciate diversity; our unique perspectives and abilities enrich us all and lead to innovative approaches and solutions.


    Equity: We champion equity, recognizing that each of us need different things to thrive.


    Inclusion: We intentionally create and hold space so that we all have meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute to Ecology’s work.


    Respect: We treat each other with respect and dignity, acknowledging the inherent worth of our diverse perspectives and lived experiences, even in times of uncertainty and disagreement.

    We believe that DEIR is both a goal and an action. We are on a journey, honoring our shared humanity and taking steps to demonstrate our commitment to a vision where each of us is heard, seen, and valued. 





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    What makes this role unique? 

    In this role, you will serve as a licensed Professional Engineer in the Dam Safety Office (DSO), in the Dam Safety and Wells Section within the Water Resources Program. You will protect public health and safety by ensuring that dams and other impounding structures are properly designed, constructed, operated, and maintained. As a Dam Safety Engineer, you will need to effectively implement Dam Safety Regulations and Standards and will collaborate within a group of fellow engineers and program specialists. You will be at a senior engineer level and will serve as an engineering consultant to the section manager. Additionally, your ability to mentor and train junior engineers and technical specialists will be highly valuable.  

    Dam Safety Engineers evaluate the condition of existing dams and proposed dam construction designs via multiple tasks; which typically include field inspections, engineering analysis, evaluation of past studies and inspections, and owner interviews. The successful candidate will also examine downstream hazard using risk-based methodology to help establish engineering design parameters.

    This position will require excellent communications skills, as they will be interacting with a highly diverse group of stakeholders that includes private landowners, municipalities, irrigation districts, Indian Tribes, and the Federal Government.

    What you will do: 
  • Apply specialized expertise in surface water hydrologic and hydraulic engineering using industry-standard engineering practices, which may include computer modeling.  Develop engineering parameters and performance standards for new and existing dams by conducting downstream hazard analyses using a risk-based methodology. Consult with engineering specialists in the DSO to obtain their input on hydrologic, geotechnical and structural issues.  Provide technical reports on your findings.
  • Conduct, or assist with, Periodic Inspections of existing dams to find and determine the seriousness of any deficiencies. Prepares reports documenting inspection findings and directing owners to perform specified remedial activities. In addition to visual inspections, Periodic Inspections typically include hydrologic and hydraulic (H-H) evaluations at varying levels of detail, or evaluation of past H-H studies, as well as a review of downstream hazard.
  • Conduct plan reviews for permit submittals, and construction inspections of new dams or existing dam modifications.  Permit submittals typically include engineering design reports, construction plans and specifications. If deemed necessary, the DSO engineer conducts an independent H-H engineering and/or risk analysis.  Conducts construction inspections of dams to ensure they are built in accordance with DSO approved plans and specifications. 
  • Provides assistance with compliance activities relating to past dam inspections.  This may be by direct contact with the dam owner, as well as providing assistance to the DSO’s compliance coordinator.  Occasionally the Dam Safety engineer will provide assistance with legal action arising from unfulfilled compliance activities, referred to as a Consent Order.  
  • Provide expertise relating to the field of hydrology, hydraulics engineering, dam design, and risk assessment to the Section Manager. Provide engineering leadership and collaborative skills to the Dam Safety Office. and technical guidance to junior engineers.       
  • Engage with professional organizations and national experts to advance the objective of dam safety.  Serve as a primary point of contact for the public regarding questions relating to dam safety.
  • Communicates with the dam owners or the public to answer questions or take complaints. 
  • Emergency Activities: Supports DSO emergency planning, preparedness and response activities.

  • Learn more about what it is like to be an Engineer at the Department of Ecology.





    Required Qualifications:
    Experience for both required and desired qualifications can be gained through various combinations of formal professional employment, educational and volunteer experience. See below for how you may qualify.

    Option 1:

    An Engineer-In-Training Certificate or a Bachelor's degree with a major emphasis on hydrology, hydraulics engineering, or closely associated studies.


    Registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington or another state based on registration requirements equivalent to those in Washington, andfive years of experience in environmental engineering.

    Option 2:

    A Master's degree with major study in engineering with an emphasis on civil, hydrologic, hydraulic engineering, or closely associated studies.


    Registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington or another state based on registration requirements equivalent to those in Washington, and four years of experience in environmental engineering

    Option 3:

    A Ph.D. with major study in engineering with an emphasis on civil, hydrologic, hydraulic engineering, or closely associated studies.


    Registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington or another state based on registration requirements equivalent to those in Washington, and two years of experience in environmental engineering.

    Special Requirements/Conditions of Employment: 
    • Must be registered as a professional engineer in the State of Washington or another state based on registration requirements equivalent to those in Washington.  
    • If registered in another qualifying state, must acquire Washington professional engineering registration, within six months of employment.
    • Must be recognized and designated in writing by Ecology’s Water Resources Program Manager as a section's authority in dam engineering  

    Desired Qualifications:

    We highly encourage you to apply even if you do not have some (or all) of the desired experience below.
  • A broad knowledge of civil engineering and a Professional Engineer license.
  • Background in construction inspection.
  • Significant education and/or professional experience in applied hydrologic and hydraulic analyses including computer modeling. 
  • Excellent people and communication skills, both written and verbal applied in technical assistance and regulatory role. 
  • The ability to mentor and train junior engineers and technical specialists.
  • Highly productive with ability to rapidly produce high quality reports useful for decisions and actions by non-technical readers even when data and information is ambiguous or limited. 
  • Ability to bring broader balanced context and thinking into work setting and deliverables. 
  • Commitment to public safety and service.
  • Knowledge and experience with Dam Safety issues on a national level.
  • Experience in the use of ESRI developed GIS (ArcGIS) and H-H (HEC-RAS, HEC-HMS) software.
  • Experience in the operation of surveying equipment and analyzing surveying data.
  • Note: Having some (or all) of this desired experience may make your application more competitive in a highly competitive applicant pool.

    NOTE:  Individuals who are interested in applying to this position, and believe they meet licensing requirements for the State of Washington based on reciprocity, are responsible for ensuring they meet licensing requirements for the State of Washington prior to submitting their application materials.  These requirements can be found at the following website: WA State: Board of Registration for Professional Engineers: How to get your license: Professional engineer by comity



    Supplemental Information

    Ecology seeks diverse applicants: We view diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect through a broad lens including race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, military background, language, education, life experience, physical disability, neurodiversity, and intersectional identities. Qualified candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

    Need an Accommodation in the application and/or screening process or this job announcement in an alternative format?

    • Please call: (360) 407-6186 or email: and we will be happy to assist.
    • If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can reach the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.
    • If you need assistance applying for this job, please e-mail Please do not send an email to this address to follow-up on the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile's main page.
    • If you are reading this announcement in print format, please enter the following URL to your search engine to apply:   
    Application Instructions:

    It's in the applicant's best interest to submit all of the documents listed below. Applications without these documents may be declined.
    • A cover letter describing why you are interested in this position.
    • A resume outlining your experience and education (if applicable) as it relates to the minimum qualifications of this position.
    • Three professional references.

    Please do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.  
    For Your Privacy:
    When attaching documents to your application (such as Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, DD-214, etc.):
  • Please be sure to remove private information such as your social security number, date of birth, etc. 
  • Do not attach documents that are password-protected, as these documents may not be reviewed and may cause errors within your application when downloaded. 


Per Governor Inslee’s Directive 22-13.1, state employees must be fully vaccinated effective November 4, 2022. Providing proof of being fully vaccinated is a condition of employment and your vaccine status will be verified prior to starting work. Being fully vaccinated means two weeks after you have received the second dose in a two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use, licensed or otherwise authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or listed for emergency use or otherwise approved by the World Health Organization. If you have questions, please contact with “COVID-19 vaccination” in the subject line.  


Additional Application Instructions for Current Ecology Employees:
Please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources.

Application Attestation: 

The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed. 

Other Information:


If you have specific questions about the position, please email Gary Myers at: Please do not contact Gary to inquire about the status of your application.
To request the full position description: email

Why work for Ecology?

As an agency, our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment for current and future generations. We invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism, and accountability.

Joining Ecology means becoming a part of a team committed to protecting and restoring Washington State's environment. A career in public service allows you to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing our state, while keeping your health and financial security a priority. We combine one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation with a strong commitment to life/work balance.

To learn more about The Department of Ecology, please visit our website at and follow, like or visit us on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram or our blog.

Collective Bargaining: This is a position covered by a bargaining unit for which the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) is the exclusive representative.   


Equal Opportunity Employer: The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.

Note: This recruitment may be used to fill other positions of the same job classification across the agency. Once all the position(s) from the recruitment announcement are filled, the recruitment may only be used to fill additional open positions for the next sixty (60) days. 


The Department of Ecology is Washington's environmental protection agency. Our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's land, air and water for current and future generations. We support environmental work throughout Washington. Nearly 70 percent of our budget is passed through to local communities to pay for projects that benefit the environment. We were founded in 1970 as the first agency in the nation dedicated to environmental protection.

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